Reducing Salt Intake to Combat High Blood Pressure

While salt is an essential mineral for many of the body’s processes, too much of it can have detrimental effects on our health.

We are consuming, on average, nearly two grams more salt per day than the recommended maximum amount. Now this might not sound like a lot on its own, but add that up day by day and we are looking at increased levels of blood pressure, often leading to cardiovascular disease – one of the main causes of premature death for adults in the UK.

Many people add salt out of habit, but around 75% of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods such as bread and breakfast cereals.

Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day – that’s around 1 teaspoon.

But why does salt increase our blood pressure?

“Sodium draws water towards it, therefore high levels of sodium in our bloodstream draws more fluid into our bloodstream, increasing our overall blood volume. “

“This now in turn increases blood pressure and puts a much greater strain on the heart. In time this weakens the heart muscles leading to heart failure.” Kate Freeman, Nutritionist

Our taste buds become accustomed to the saltiness of our regular diet and if we dramatically reduce the salt from our diet, food can suddenly start to taste bland. We can however, train our taste buds to adapt to lower levels by slowly reducing our salt intake over time.

So how can we start cutting back?

  • Well, start by reducing your preference for salt by avoiding adding salt to meals when cooking. Always taste your food first, remember many people add salt just out of habit.
  • Enhance the flavour of your meals with natural flavour-enhancers for example onion, garlic, chili, ginger, herbs and spices.
  • Make your own pasta sauces from scratch
  • Reduce the amount of processed food on your shopping list

Would you like to know how your blood pressure is? During the NHS Health check, we check your blood pressure for free and discuss any actions and advice regarding blood pressure with you. Book in for your check today.